Expatriate Insurance and Travel Insurance for Backpackers

Expat Insurance and Backpacker Policies for Longer Trips Abroad

These medical policies are for Canadians without OHIP, MSP or other provincial medical plans. Quote all the available medical insurance plans for Canadian expatriates.

For more information on expat insurance, explore our expat insurance blog page. 

Global expatriates fall into three categories:

Image result for hikerReturning Canadians

Expatriates who have left Canada for a lengthy period of time, and are no longer covered by their provincial health care plan, need to reapply for coverage. These 'repatriates' must wait for their application to be approved, and for the mandatory waiting period to pass, before they become covered under their provincial plan (usually 65-91 days depending on the province, but it can take longer). Three months is a long time to have no medical coverage in Canada, because accidents and illnesses happen. And Canadian hospitals can be expensive.

Fortunately, returning Canadians can purchase a Visitors to Canada policy from any one of the several companies we offer in order to bridge the gap in coverage they face during their waiting period. Simply choose Global Expats and then Returning Expats in the top left corner of this page to get a quote and look at the coverage available. We'll start off showing you the $100,000 plans, but you can change coverage levels on your quote page. We recommend having a plan of no less than $100,000, although lesser options do exist.

Image result for glacial lakeDeparting Canadians

Had enough? Off to greener pastures for a while? International experience can be invaluable, and may require more than just a short term sojourn abroad. Studying or working overseas might take longer than a year. For some people, 'backpacking' or other forms of travel 'research' can take years. If so, expatriate hospital & medical insurance is a good way to insure against financial loss associated with unexpectedly high medical expenses. For backpackers, it may actually prove less expensive than regular travel medical insurance.

Your provincial health care provider usually won't allow you to be absent for more than 182-183 days (212 in Ontario and Newfoundland) per year and still continue to be covered under their health care plan. However, It may be possible, if you speak to them and get their approval, for you to have one extended absence (see our links page for contact numbers).

All Canadian travel insurance providers require you to be covered under a provincial plan for your entire trip in order to be covered under one of their travel medical insurance plans. So if you are travelling longer than six months, it may be appropriate for you to cancel your provincial health coverage by notifying them that you will be leaving the country on an extended absence. Then, you would need to purchase an expatriate health insurance plan in order to have yourself and your family's finances protected against the possibility of accident or illness abroad. You may only need this coverage in place for a certain waiting period before becoming covered under a plan provided to you in the country that you are going to. If that is not the case, you may have this expatriate coverage for as long as necessary, but you must reapply after each year.

How does expatriate coverage compare (price) to regular travel medical insurance? Generally, it's more expensive and the coverage is less because the insurance company cannot easily minimize their risk exposure by returning you to your province for further care. But for younger travellers, it can actually be less expensive than travel medical insurance (which offers more coverage).

Let's take an example of someone age 43 from BC travelling outside the USA, purchasing one year of $500,000 expatriate health coverage. They stop their provincial coverage, so that saves the person $75.00 per month or $900.00 per year. The Allianz expatriate plan would cost $1,332 (including a 12% pre-payment discount). If they received special permission (from provincial health provider) to allow them to remain on their provincial plan, they would be able to obtain a single trip (365 day) travel medical policy ($5,000,000) that would cost $876, but they would also have to pay the $900 for provincial coverage. So in this example, expat coverage is not overly expensive (it's actually $444 cheaper), but the coverage is less, and the process is more cumbersome (a traveller would need to cancel provincial coverage and then re-apply when they return).

Using the same example, if the person is 58 years old, the expatriate plan would be $2,436, which is almost exactly the same cost at the $900 provincial coverage plus a basic travel medical policy for $1,533.73. However, for a 23-year-old, the expatriate plan would only be $840, which is quite a bit less than the same $900 provincial coverage plus $448 for a 365-day travel medical plan. There is a smaller $100,000 maximum coverage plan available which could save even more money. While that's something a backpacker might think about, we don't recommend using an expatriate plan with less than $500,000 in coverage because the critical role travel insurance provides is to protect against catastrophic loss due to sudden, dramatic and severe injury or illness. There is no point in having insurance if it only covers half of what you need when you actually need to have it. 

You can get a quote for expatriate travel medical insurance by going to the top left corner of this page and clicking on Global Expats and then Canadian Expats. We have a few plans to look at, but for a complete search of all your options from Canadian and international suppliers, please call us toll-free at 1-888-888-0510. We'll help find a plan that works for you. 

Your other insurance option is to obtain permission from your provincial plan provider for a one time extended absence (worthwhile if you are not paying for your provincial coverage), which allows you to buy coverage under a regular Canadian travel health insurance policy (which comes with a higher maximum limit). Most Canadian insurance companies will allow you to purchase coverage for one year, and we now also have a two-year policy available.  For trips longer than six months, we need to ensure that you have the correct coverage in place, so please call us toll-free for assistance at 1-888-888-0510.


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International Expats

The other category of expats might have nothing to do with Canada! International travellers leaving their country of residence (not Canada) who may need travel insurance while they travel (majority of time outside Canada) can obtain a quote and purchase coverage with the following links, but please call us at 1-888-888-0510 for assistance.

Of the plans below, HCC will have the most affordable rates, BUT "The Atlas Series is not available to individuals who are physically located in the state of New York, Maryland, or Washington or in the country of Canada or Australia at time of purchase".

HCC Medical InsuranceAtlas Series
Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, the Atlas plan may be just what you're looking for. Plans are available from a minimum of 5 days up to a maximum of one year.

At no additional cost, the Atlas Series adds coverage for Emergency Medical Evacuation, Acts of Terrorism and Complications of Pregnancy.
Get Quote.

 International Medical GroupPatriot Travel Medical Insurance 

Designed to meet the needs of international travellers looking for temporary medical insurance coverage while travelling outside their home country. In addition to medical benefits, the plan includes coverage for emergency medical and political evacuation, repatriation, and a choice of deductibles and plan maximums up to $2,000,000.

There are two plans available:  Patriot International provides coverage for U.S. citizens travelling outside the U.S., and Patriot America provides coverage for non-U.S. citizens travelling outside their home country. 
Get Quote.

IMG Global Medical Insurance QuoteGlobal Medical Insurance

Global Medical Insurance (GMI) is a flexible, long-term, annually renewable, U.S.-style major medical insurance program designed for U.S. citizens living abroad, and non-U.S. citizens throughout the world.

GMI offers the flexibility to select from an assortment of four unique benefit plan options – Silver, Gold, Gold Plus, and Platinum - each with different levels of coverage. In addition, there are different areas of coverage available, optional riders, flexible underwriting methods, as well as multiple deductibles and modes of payment.
Get Quote...... Get Brochure...... See Paper Application..... See Rates